5 Content Marketing Stories Every Management Consultant Can Tell
Many management consultants are great at what they do, but struggle with consistently winning new business. They know their field of expertise well and do a great job solving client problems. Most of their new business results from referrals.
The key to predictable, consistent growth for management consultants is a balanced strategy that blends referrals, networking, prospecting and content marketing. In this article, we will focus on content marketing, also referred to as inbound marketing. It's a great marketing channel for management consultants because it attracts potential customers by helping them understand problems and opportunities they typically face. For management consultants, content marketing is the equivalent of giving prospects a free sample of your expertise.
The first step in developing an inbound marketing strategy is to define your ideal customer profile. That is, defining the industries, company sizes, geographic locations and demographic characteristics of the types of businesses that are most likely to become profitable customers.
Once you've defined your ideal customer profile, the idea is to create content that resonate with these types of companies. Despite the natural fit of content marketing to the management consulting industry, many struggle with coming up for ideas for content marketing topics. Here are 5 content marketing stories every management consultant can tell.
1. What types of problems do your ideal customers face?
Although this seems obvious, many consultants assume that potential buyers already know the problems they face. This is often not the case. Business owners and managers face many problems and sometimes assume that they "come with the territory." Or they assume that problems they face are unique occurrences that only they face.
Let me give you an example from my personal experience. In the early days of my business, I had problems getting paid from some customers. I took it personally and assumed that it was something that only I was facing. After talking with a lot of business owners, I learned that 99% of them had been "stiffed" at some point.
After doing research on the topic, I learned that it was something that had to be managed and implemented financial processes to minimize the amount and frequency of unpaid invoices. The point is that I needed to talk to peers and do research on the web to realize that the problem I faced was fairly common and that there were processes to implement to manage the problem.
In your content marketing, identify the problems that your ideal customers face. Remember - it's not time to solve them just yet!
2. What types of opportunities can your ideal customer exploit?
This is the flip side of the coin described above. The article you are reading is an example of this story. Management consultants have a great opportunity to grow their businesses with content marketing. I'm describing five different opportunities to connect with buyers with content marketing.
Note that I'm not telling you how to tell the stories in this article, I'm just describing five different types of stories you can tell. I have written other articles that get into more of a "how-to" take on content marketing.
3. What are the options to solve problems buyers face?
When telling this story, it is important not to blatantly pitch your solution. After all, your clients and your reputation depend on your providing the best advice for your customers, regardless of your own personal interest.
When telling this story, make sure to list all of the options, not just the one you provide. You also need to objectively identify the pros and cons of each solution. In the long run, you will be far better off steering potential buyers in the right direction than selling them a solution that doesn't work for them.
It's better that you give potential buyers an objective, comprehensive view of their options than making them do the legwork to find out what you're not telling them. Honesty begets trust and trust is the currency of the realm in management consulting.
4. Show how you've helped similar customers solve their problems
In my opinion, case studies are one of the best ways for management consultants to tell their stories.
You begin by defining a problem that you helped a customer solve that is familiar to your ideal customer. You then walk through the steps you took to solve the problem and share quantifiable results that you helped them produce.
These stories are most effective when told by the customer you helped. Most customers will be happy to have the spotlight shone upon them for a successful project they managed. Keep in mind that you want to tell how you helped the customer solve the problem, not how you solved it yourself.
A good case study is a very effective outbound marketing tool as well.
5. Take a contrary stand against conventional wisdom in your industry
There is likely something that is taken for granted in your industry about which you have a contrary opinion. Share it with the world in your content marketing. After all, buyers aren't going to remember all of your competitors who parrot the conventional wisdom, but they will remember the thought leader who challenged the orthodoxy.
This isn't something that you can do consistently, but it is something that will get attention.
As stated above, great opportunities exist for management consultants that consistently produce educational content that resonates with their ideal customers. There are many stories that you can tell - I've just shared five examples with you. As the people at Nike say - just do it!